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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Apr 1, 2010 3:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Skip to my lou

I don't quite understand what you mean by "skip," but as someone who has played guitar for a number of years and has long idolized the 72-74 Garcia style, I can offer one bit of advice. The most important thing to understand about the way Jerry played during this period was his use of overlapping musical modes to express his stream-of-consciousness style musical ideas. To play like he did from 72-74 requires a pretty sophisticated understanding of how chords and arpeggios are related to one another and how subtle changes in arpeggios can express changes in mood.

The concept is actually not all that complicated once you understand basic musical scales, but it takes real dedication to develop an ear to hear the subtleties and to be able to anticipate how the music will sound before you play it. Of course, it also requires the kind of dexterity and physical stamina that one can only truly develop by playing all the time and constantly pushing the boundaries of what is musically possible and palatable.

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Poster: Diamondhead Date: Apr 1, 2010 4:43pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Skip to my lou

Hey, thanks for the reply. I am the anti sophistic. I'm doing this all by ear. With so many deadicated years to listening, I can hear what's going on, and I just try to copy it when I play along with my good old iPod. A lot I of can't do is technique/speed and stamina. It boggles my mind how hard it must be to sustain a run through something like PITB or WR. At any rate, the skipping seem to come from the way he attacks the picking. Like quicks and stops. I'm having a hard time explaining this. Like ditdit dah, or ditditditdit dah. I wish someone else understood what I mean to say. I could be as weird as some folks think.

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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Apr 2, 2010 9:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Skip to my lou

I can't say for sure what Jerry did, but with respect to picking and the "skipping" thing that you've identified here: a lot of what sounds like fast picking is actually one pluck that is manipulated multiple times on the neck -- hammer-on or hammer-off techniques. Six notes in a typical Garcia run might only require two or three plucks of the string with the right hand.

Another pretty typical Garcia thing was his use of a climbing or descending technique, whereby he would go up and scales incrementally. Instead of proceeding in a linear fashion up and down through multiple octaves, he would return after a few notes back to the second or third note in the ascent (or descent) and continue that way -- sort of like taking five steps forward and four steps back each time. If that makes any sense.

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Poster: vapors Date: Apr 2, 2010 11:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Skip to my lou

I’m not much with terminology, but I think I have a reasonable knowledge of music theory and believe I understand what you are trying to say. Although I’ve been playing the guitar off and on for over thirty years, it is only recently that I find things falling into place and feel comfortable using a pick and playing leads. I used to get really hung up playing quick runs and triplets, but it is getting easier. I understand what makes a major, minor, or blues scale, but still don’t quite get what mixolydian is. But it don’t matter much to me, cause Jerry is teaching me all the time. His influence on how I hear and play is enormous. I have never been much good at mastering another musicians’ licks – I am just delighted when I feel that I am able to play something that sounds good.

The mood often strikes to play along with whatever I’m listening to. Having the Dead as my backing band really makes for a great workout and Jerry’s melodic sensibility guides my ear and fingers. It is quite pleasing to apply the love I have for the music to my own playing. And I don’t think any of us are trying to be Jerry Garcia – we just love his music and find immense satisfaction in emulating it on our own. Practice, practice, practice.